Dear Cassie by Lisa Burstein- Review

Lisa Burstein
Publication Date: March 5,2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
(Dear Cassie)
What if the last place you should fall in love is the first place that you do?

You’d think getting sent to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp for a month-long rehabilitation “retreat” and being forced to re-live it in this journal would be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

You’d be wrong.

There’s the reason I was sent to Turning Pines in the first place: I got arrested. On prom night. With my two best friends, who I haven’t talked to since and probably never will again. And then there’s the real reason I was sent here. The thing I can’t talk about with the guy I can’t even think about.

What if the moment you’ve closed yourself off is the moment you start to break open?

But there’s this guy here. Ben. And the more I swear he won’t—he can’t—the deeper under my skin he’s getting. After the thing that happened, I promised I’d never fall for another boy’s lies.

And yet I can’t help but wonder…what if?


Dear Cassie picks up after the events that transpired in the book Pretty Amy. Cassie has been sentenced to Turning Pines wilderness rehab and is none to happy about it. Unfortunately for her it is that or jail and well 30 days in the woods doesn't seem so bad when you look at it from that perspective. Cassie is broken and doesn't know how to put herself back together. Worse she can't get that jerk Adam out of her head. Then their is Ben who just keeps trying to tear down the walls she has built up. He stirs feelings in Cassie that she'd prefer to keep buried. Along with her cabin mates Nez and Troyer will Cassie survive Turning Pines or continue on her path to self destruction.

Lisa Burstein has a way with words that is really special. The characters come to life on the page. What they feel, we the reader do to. Her style of writing just flows across the page. I really have no complaints, her writing is what keeps me coming back to this world.

As for the characters, I loved how fleshed out everyone was. Yes, the story focuses mostly on Cassie but that didn't make the others any less entertaining. Even the Adult characters Nerone and Rawe had depth and made you feel that they were just as much a part of the experience as those sentenced to Turning Pines. Everyone had a part to play and they did it very well. As for my favorite character, hands down it was Troyer. Though her character doesn't speak (instead writing everything down) for most of the book she also had some of the best scenes and I loved her spunk.

Now while I highly enjoyed Dear Cassie I did find flaws. Cassie was much more enjoyable this time around but I could of used a lot less angst. Her situation sucks, I get that. What I don't like is her constant self loathing, It's not like she was an innocent bystander in all this. I said this on twitter while reading Dear Cassie but I still mean it. If a drinking game were invited from a book Dear Cassie would fit the bill. Cassie has this annoying habit of punching herself in the stomach anytime she gets emotional and since she's almost always internally punishing herself it happens quite often. She has a reason for doing this but, it doesn't make it happening any less of a nuisance. I didn't expect sparkles and sunshine from Cassie however I would of liked her growth as a character to move forward quicker than it did. Instead it felt like she regressed the moment she was faced with the unpleasant task of living in the wilderness, without her entourage of Amy and Lila in tow.

I also really wish the book had ended differently. Cassie was healing finally which after all she had been through was great. However the ending did feel rushed and unsatisfying. I sort of thought it would of ended with a glimpse of Lila instead. Since I'm assuming we will get a book from her perspective as well (least I hope so).

Overall Dear Cassie was a great read, I did enjoy it. The world building, plot developments, and pacing were perfect but the few faults it had did keep me from giving this book 5 stars. If you like Young Adult Contemporary pick this up. With that being said, I will be rating Dear Cassie ★★★★.

*I received this book to review from the Author. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for providing them.


  1. I haven't read Pretty Amy yet, but I want to start this series soon. Great review...sounds like a really great emotional read.

    1. Contemporary isn't a genre I normally gravitate to but I like this series and will continue with it as long as it lasts.

  2. Good review. never heard of this one but i'll keep an eye out for it.

    1. If you do want to read it, I highly suggest reading Pretty Amy first.


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